Innovation management in the digitalised hotel sector

Results from the project

BFUF Rapport #24
Leda innovation i en digitaliserad hotellbransch

Adapt or Die: Leadership Resilience during Crisis

Dr. Karin Högberg, Högskolan Väst

What is the research project about?
“The hotel sector has changed enormously over the last five to ten years with the advent of digitalisation and the arrival of booking agencies such as Tripadvisor and We shall follow three hotel businesses who have started their own work on meeting the challenges associated with the influence of digital platforms. We shall study their working process, how they are organised and managed and which new skills and expertise are required by the employees within the organisation.”

Why do you want to conduct research in this area?
“These so-called third-party platforms have a large amount of users. Hotels can be seen and they receive good marketing from them. But it’s expensive to have a presence on such sites as these booking agencies deduct fees for their services. A hotel can also easily run into trouble when a booking goes wrong, such as when guests, having booked a room through a booking site, don’t always understand that the hotel itself is not in possession of the reservation.”

“Many hotels say that it’s a great loss that they themselves don’t have access to data regarding guests. It makes their work harder in developing their service and in forming long-term customer relationships. The sector has this issue on the agenda and are aware that development work needs to be done as there is an increased need on how we can best organise innovative work within the hotel business.”

What will you do?
“We use qualitative research methods to collect our data. We’ll be following the working process of the three enterprises through observations on the ground, e.g. at work meetings, and conduct interviews with co-workers at all levels. We will capture the narrative, hear their own thoughts on the challenge facing them, what needs to be done, how it can be achieved and what value they see themselves.”

How will the hotel enterprises benefit from the project?
“Our hope is to develop a type of model which sets out how an innovative process within the hotel business can look like in practice. It shall act as an inspiration for other businesses who wish to embark upon innovation work. If you are not used to the notion of innovation or working with innovation processes then it makes it easier to have a good example to study and learn from.”

What are the challenges facing you?
“There is a great deal of material to be collected and it’s to be compiled in such a way as to make it hands-on and possible to turn to and use in practice. Our hope is that the result really becomes something which the sector sees value in.”

About the researchers
The project is directed by Dr. Karin Högberg, Högskolan Väst. She is a specialist in social media and digitalisation within organisations, with particular focus on the hotel sector. In collaboration with Dr. Carsten Sørensen, researcher at the London School of Economics and Politics, UK, and guest professor at Högskolan Väst, Lars Svensson, Professor in Informatics and head researcher in Work-integrated Learning at Högskolan Väst, and Ola Henfridsson, Professor of Business Technology at Miami Herbert Business School.

Collaborating enterprises
Nordic Choice Hotels, Gullmarstrand Hotell & Konferens and Hotell Tylösand.

Project facts


Innovation management in the digitalised hotel sector

Research organization

Högskolan Väst

Project Manager

Karin Högberg


2020 Jan – 2021 Dec


SEK 1,600,000

Läs om projektet på svenska »

Karin Högberg

Project Manager

Carsten Sørensen


Lars Svensson


Ola Henfridsson